Union mourns loss of member from Maple Lodge Farms
Union mourns loss of member from Maple Lodge Farms; Commitment to worker safety continues in the face of pandemic
Mississauga, ON – May 7, 2020 – Locals 175 & 633 of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW), which represents employees at Maple Lodge Farms in Brampton, was deeply saddened to learn that a Union Member from that plant has passed away after contracting COVID-19.
“On behalf of the members and staff at the Union, I offer my sincere condolences to the family of the member who passed away,” said Shawn Haggerty, President of UFCW Local 175. “Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time, as well as with the other members at the plant who are also dealing with their own COVID-19 diagnoses.”
Currently, there are 25 confirmed cases of workers with COVID-19 at the Maple Lodge Farms Brampton plant. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Union has been in continual contact with the employer to discuss the operations of the plant with a focus on worker safety.
“Our discussions with the employer have led to many safety protocols being put into place,” said Haggerty. These safety measures include the use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), staggering breaks and shifts to maintain physical distancing, enhanced cleaning for all areas of the plant, and provisions for members to travel to and from the plant in a secure fashion. The members have also been advised of their right to refuse unsafe work and have been educated on the details of how to implement a refusal.
“Our members are performing essential work to keep Canadians fed, healthy and safe,” said Haggerty.
“The Union is committed to ensuring that they are able to do that work in an environment that is as safe as possible and will take any reasonable action to protect them. Maintaining the food supply chain is important but it shouldn’t come at the cost of workers’ health.”
UFCW Locals 175 & 633, as well as UFCW Canada, will continue to advocate on behalf of the membership with the employer and at all levels of government to keep our members safe and secure throughout this pandemic. Information on what UFCW is calling on our government to provide for food processing workers for can be found at bit.ly/ProtectFoodProcessingWorkers.
Tim Deelstra, Engagement & Media Relations Strategist
UFCW Locals 175 & 633
226-750-4366 or firstname.lastname@example.org